John Harvey Mateer


JOHN HARVEY MATEER has lived at his present home. in Boggs township for over forty years, having settled there in the spring of 1872. He is a well-to-do farmer and stock raiser, has held the office of tax collector of his township, and is a citizen who commands the highest respect of all who know him. Mr. Mateer was born July 31, 1846. on the old Mateer homestead in Boggs township, and belongs to a family of Scotch-Irish origin which has been in Pennsylvania for several generations.

James Mateer, the founder of this branch in America, was born in Ireland and was of Scotch-Irish parentage. Crossing the Atlantic with his wife, Mollie (Sharon), and family, he settled in the Cumberland valley in Pennsylvania, seven miles from Harrisburg and one mile from Mechanicsville, obtaining land from the Penns on which he made his home and devoted himself to farming. There he reared his family. He served in the Revolutionary war.

Samuel Mateer, son of James and Mollie Mateer, always followed farming, remaining on the old home place, where he died in 1805. He married Rosanna Quigley, and they reared a family. John Mateer, son of Samuel, was a native of Dauphin county, Pa., thence removing in 1806 to Armstrong. county, settling in Franklin township, close to what is now Montgomeryville, on land now owned by the Shawmut Railway Company. He obtained 250 acres of land in what is now Washington township, then all in the woods, and developed a desirable property, putting, up a substantial brick house and frame barn, and, making many improvements which added to its value. In 1855 Mr. Mateer left Armstrong county, moving out to Wayne county, Ill., where he died in 1866. In politics he was a Democrat. He married Margaret Montgomery, and they had the following children: Washington, Samuel, Robert, John, Margaret, Nancy Jane, Rosana, Montgomery and Anthony.

Samuel Mateer, son of John, was born in November, 1818, in what is now East Franklin township, Armstrong county, and was raised there. Later he located in what was then Pine (now Boggs) township, where his son Samuel S. Mateer now lives, and there passed the remainder of his life, dying in 1900. Farming was his principal business throughout life, but in his early years he was also a drover, dealing extensively in stock, which he drove to the eastern markets. He bought the Place of 200 acres in Boggs township now owned by, his son Samuel at a time when there were neither roads nor bridges in the vicinity, and the tree under which he pitched his tent the first winter, while he cleared a place for his house, is still standing. In the spring he went for his young wife, whom he had married the previous August, 1843, and they worked together to improve the property, in time being able to build a fine house and barns. Mr. Mateer was a Democrat and took a prominent part in the public affairs of the locality, holding the office of justice of the peace for many years and serving faithfully in various township offices, including that of school director. Being a carpenter, he in 1859 built the schoolhouse which still stands on the farm and is known by his name. He also contributed liberally toward the building of the Concord Presbyterian Church, and was one of the trustees of that congregation. He helped to secure good roads in his neighborhood. He was the promoter of Pine Creek Furnace, and in company with James E. Brown, of whom he purchased his farm, established the furnace where the station of that name now stands. Thus he was associated with many movements which marked the progress of his community. He was a member of the Masonic fraternity.

In August, 1843, Mr. Mateer married Elizabeth Ambrose, who was born April 2, 1823, daughter of Benjamin Ambrose, a farmer of Westmoreland county, who came to Franklin township, Armstrong county, where he reared his family of four sons and three daughters. Mr. Ambrose was a Whig and a Presbyterian. Mrs. Mateer died in August, 1903. She and her husband had the following children, all born on the home farm in Boggs township where their son Samuel S. now lives: James E. B., born May 24th, 1844, is a farmer of Boggs township (he married Esther S. Lowry) John Harvey, born July 31, 1846, is a farmer of Boggs township; Robert M., born Oct. 5, 1848, graduated from Jefferson Medical College and was a prominent physician of Elderton, this county, until his death, June 18, 1900 (he married Mary Donly) ; Benjamin Franklin, born Dec. 25, 1850, is a retired farmer living in Kittanning; Samuel S., born May 1, 1853, married Mary Houser; Annie jane, born Oct. 25, 1855, married William W. Calhoun, a, farmer of Boggs township; Margaret, born March 18, 1858, married Findley P. Wolff, an attorney of Kittanning, and died June 24, 1910; Mary Elizabeth, born in December, 1860, is the widow of Joseph Banks, and is living in Kittanning; Ambrose M., born July 16, 1863, is a merchant at Ford City, this county; Alexander Montgomery, born Oct. 26, 1867, is a farmer of Boggs township. Besides their own large family Mr. and Mrs. Mateer raised Daniel Cogley, who was born Sept. 7, 1839, and whom they took into their home as an orphan boy of nine years. He still resides on the old homestead with Samuel S. Mateer. He was a Union soldier during the Civil war, enlisting in August, 1862, in Company K, 155th Pennsylvania Regiment, and serving three years with the Army of the Potomac; after his discharge he returned to the Mateer farm in Boggs township.

John Harvey Mateer was reared and educated in Boggs township, where he has passed all his life. In the spring of 1872, shortly before his marriage, he came to the farm he has since owned and occupied-a fine tract of 196 acres to which he has added seven acres since he settled upon it. The improvements, including the commodious and substantial buildings, are practically all his own work, and the fine condition of the property is the best comment on his up-to-date and intelligent management. Besides carrying on general farming, he raises fine dairy stock and Percheron Norman horses, in which latter he takes particular pride. Though he has not sought public honors be has been elected tax collector and served with the greatest satisfaction to all concerned. In political connection he is a Democrat, in church connection a Presbyterian.

On Jan. 30, 1873, Mr. Mateer married Clara L. Calhoun, who was born Sept. 26, 1846, daughter of James Robert and Nancy (Cochran) Calhoun. Five children were born to this union:, (1) Robert C., born Jan. 3, 1874, is unmarried. (2) Samuel Lee, born March 19, 1877, now resides in East Franklin township, Armstrong county, on the farm formerly owned by O. N. Wilson. He married May Sechrist, daughter of Andrew Sechrist, and they have two children, Evelyn Cleda, born April 25, 1909, and Ivan Lloyd, born Feb. 28, 1912. (3) Iva Blanche, born March 7, 1882, is a teacher in Kittanning. (4) Delbert H., born Jan. 29, 1884, married Olive Roney, daughter of George Roney, and their children are Clair Franklin, born Oct.. 28, 1906, and Harry Elmeyer, born Jan. 29, 1907. Their home is in Kittanning. (5) Finley Ambrose, born April 30, 1888, married Beulah Orr, daughter of John Orr, and has one child, Mildred Genevieve, born Aug. 28, 1910. They reside in Kittanning James Calhoun, Mrs. Mateer's great-grandfather, was a native of County Donegal, Ireland. He was a soldier of the Revolutionary war. His first settlement in this country was in Lancaster county, Pa., but soon after the close of the Revolution he removed to Indiana county, remaining there, however, only a few years; he was one of the early school teachers of that county. Thence he removed to Boggs township, Armstrong county, where he passed the remainder of his life. In religious belief he was a Seceder. In Lancaster county he married (first) Ellen Templeton, by whom he had two children, Ellen and William. In Indiana county he married (second) Mrs. May (Abrams) Walker. He reared a large family of children.

Mrs. Mateer's grandfather, Hon. John Calhoun, was born Jan. 16, 1784, in Indiana or Armstrong county, Pa., spent nearly all his life in Wayne township, and died in May, 1874. He was long one of the most respected citizens of Armstrong county. In early life he was a carpenter, but in his later years engaged in farming. For thirty -years he held the office of justice of the peace in district No. 7, being first appointed in 1822 under Governor Hiester, and he was three times commissioned assistant judge, first in 1840 to serve out an unexpired term, in 1842 for a full term by Governor Porter, and again by Governor Shunk, in 1848. He was active in public matters and political affairs during the greater part of his mature life. He was a Whig until late in life, when he became a strong supporter of the Democratic party. He was one of the first militia captains in the State, commissioned March 30, 1813, by Governor Snyder; on Aug. 30, 1811, he had been commissioned lieutenant colonel. In early life a Seceder, he later joined the Presbyterian Church and was among the founders and elders of the Glade Run and Concord Churches. Mr. Calhoun was twice married. His first wife, Elizabeth Anthony, whom he married in 1806, died Sept. 1, 1827, the mother of eight children, born as follows: Noah A., Dec. :26, 1806 (died in 1889); William J., July 22, 1809 (deceased, a carpenter and farmer of Wayne township); May (Mrs. Thomas Ritchey, of Wayne township), Jan. 15, 1812: (deceased); Nancy (wife of Samuel H. Porter), Sept. 18, 1814 (deceased); James R., March 25, 1817; Sarah (Mrs. James Calhoun, of Boggs township), Oct. 4, 1819; Samuel S. N., March 22, 1823; John K., Feb. 26, 1825. All the daughters married farmers, and all the sons became farmers except John K., who was an attorney. Six of the grandchildren of John Calhoun were in the Civil war, Ephraim (son of James R. Calhoun), James Robert (son of William J. Calhoun), William D. Porter, John A. Ritchey, John A. Calhoun and John C. Calhoun. On Jan. 1, 1828, he married (second) Catherine Marshall, who was born Oct. 8, 1788, and died April 26, 1865. They had one child, Elizabeth C., born Oct. 30, 1830, who married Robert Anthony, of Frostburg, Pa., son of Levi and Mary (Miller) Anthony.

James Robert Calhoun was born March 25, 18l7, in Armstrong county, and settled there, on a farm in Wayne township, where he lived until 1882. He then retired and removed to the borough of Dayton, where he died Feb. 15, 1904. Mr. Calhoun was one of the most progressive farmers of his day, and took particular pride in his valuable live stock. He was one of the managers of the Dayton A. M. Association. In his day he was a prominent supporter of the Democratic party in this section of the county, served as tax collector, school director (twelve years), road supervisor (four years), one term as councilman of Dayton and several terms as burgess. He and his wife were members of the Presbyterian Church for over fifty years. He married April 8, 1841, Nancy S. Cochran, daughter of William and Mary (Marshall) Cochran, and their children were: Ephraim A., born July 5, 1843, and who in 1862, became a member of Company K, 155th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, and was killed at the battle of the Wilderness, May 5, 1864; Elmira A., born Jan. 6, 1845; Clara Lavina, Mrs. Mateer; Jefferson C., born in May, 1849; and Leander S., born Oct. 25 1850. Mrs. Calhoun was born Dec. 20, 1816., and died May 12, 1906.

Source: Pages 428, Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J.H. Beers & Co., 1914
Transcribed September 2001 by Vaughn Davis for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Contributed for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (

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